Donald Trump

‘Being a Sanctuary City is in Our DNA': San Francisco Mayor Reassures Residents After Trump's White House Win

Donald Trump's divisive presidential victory has triggered panic among undocumented immigrants in the Bay Area. 

Mayor Ed Lee on Thursday reaffirmed San Francisco's status as a sanctuary city, with the hope of calming fears of an immigration crackdown.

“Being a sanctuary city is in our DNA,” he posted on Twitter around 11 a.m. “San Francisco will never be anything other than a sanctuary city.”

An hour later, Lee added: "San Francisco will continue to be a beacon of light, a city dedicated to progress."

Lee also hosted a news conference to the same effect. He said that he hopes Trump will realize that cutting federal funding for sanctuary cities could also hurt people who the President-elect promised to help. 

"I think we have about a half-billion dollars in direct funding — probably more when we look at how we disperse state funding," Lee said. "I hope politics does not get in the way of public service."

Lee said that if Trump signals an intent to take on cities like San Francisco, leaders have to be ready. So he is meeting with various department heads to make sure the city keeps its values intact.

In a statement issued Wednesday after Trump’s stunning win, Lee attempted to assuage brewing unrest amid San Franciscans.

He addressed the feelings of anxiety and fear that were prompted by a “polarizing election,” but said that “San Francisco will remain San Francisco” and offer “inclusiveness, tolerance and compassion.”

Lee continued: “Let us come together to show the nation and the world what we have always known, anything is possible when we are united for the common good.”

The city’s residents appear to have come together after Hillary Clinton conceded to Trump. Only, they are united in their anger and heartbreak, which has triggered protests, walk-outs, and sit-ins.

There is growing resolve among immigrants' rights activists to resist Trump.

"Undocumented and unafraid," protesters chanted at a rally outside San Francisco's Immigration and Customs Enforcement office. 

However, immigration attorney Luis Angel Reyes Savalza said, "There is fear, tremendous fear in the community."

Savalza is also an undocumented immigrant. He is currently protected by the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, which was signed by President Barack Obama in 2012.

Since Wednesday, his phone has been ringing non-stop, Savalza said.

"Even clients who already have status and shouldn’t be at risk of anything called me and said, 'What’s going to happen? Am I going to get deported. My kid doesn’t want to go to school,'" he said.

Valeria Suarez is a student at the University of Berkeley, and her mother lives in Peru.

"I woke up to calls from her and to messages saying, 'What are we going to do? How am i going to keep you safe?'" Suarez said.

Her fellow Cal student Juan Prieto expressed fear that federal policies could soon threaten immigrants.

"Sanctuary cities would lose their federal funding," he said. "That might encourage cities to remove sanctuary city policies."

San Francisco's sanctuary city policy was criticized after Kate Steinle, a 32-year-old Pleasanton resident, was shot dead in July 2015 while strolling along the Embarcadero with her father. The suspect, Francisco Sanchez, was in jail less than four months before the fatal shooting and should have been turned over to federal immigration officials upon his release. Instead, he was set free because the city and county of San Francisco are sanctuaries for immigrants, and they do not turn over undocumented people – if they don't have active warrants out for them.

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